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Koreas Disagree on Family Reunions, Aid to NK

Posted October. 17, 2009 08:30,   


The two Koreas yesterday failed to narrow differences on inter-Korean family reunions and humanitarian aid to North Korea in a working-level contact in Kaesong.

The South Korean delegation proposed discussion of putting into practice three principles for resolving humanitarian issues, including holding another family reunion in next month and February next year.

The North, however, insisted that the South take measures corresponding to the additional family reunions.

The contact began at 10 a.m. and suspended twice before resuming at 5 p.m.

At the inter-Korean family reunions between Sept. 26 and Oct. 1, Pyongyang suggested that Seoul express its “goodwill” in return for the reunions, which the North said was the expression of its “special goodwill.”

Given that the North has linked the reunions with fertilizer aid from the South, yesterday’s demand is interpreted as a request for humanitarian aid of rice and fertilizer.

A Seoul official said both sides exchanged opinions on mutually expected agenda but failed to bridge differences, adding the contact was repeatedly suspended as chief delegates had to contact their headquarters for instructions.

Seoul said Pyongyang did not officially mention the resumption of tours to the North’s Kaesong and Mount Kumgang and the repatriation of 11 North Koreans who defected to the South this month via sea.